WA's latest push to secure submarine jobs

Gabriel Polychronis

The Western Australian government has taken a fresh swipe at South Australia as they ramp up their efforts to secure submarine maintenance jobs.

On Sunday, the WA Labor government launched a $500,000 advertising campaign to secure Full Cycle Docking of Collins Class submarines by 2024.

The national "Join the Mission" campaign will appear in newspapers, radio, TV and online over six weeks.

WA defence minister Paul Papalia said on Sunday that SA is not up to the task of carrying out the maintenance work.

"In 2024, South Australia will be building new submarines, new frigates and they'll be being asked to do this.

"That requires a workforce of 15,000 skilled manufacturing workers they do not have."

Mr Papalia also said "there are more than enough jobs in South Australia in 2024 for all South Australians".

"Sadly, if this task remains in South Australia, the operational capability of the submarines will be compromised and that shouldn't be acceptable.".

It is the WA government's latest move in a war of words with SA over who should have the sustainment jobs.

Earlier this month, Premier Mark McGowan questioned SA's defence workforce, saying the state doesn't understand how difficult the work will be in 2024.

SA Premier Steven Marshall returned fire, saying "SA is undoubtedly the centre of naval shipbuilding in Australia".

The WA government says an independent PriceWaterHouseCoopers study showed moving Full Cycle Docking to WA was in the "national interest".

A business case has been delivered to the federal government, spruiking WA's defence capabilities.

Mr Papalia said if the federal government doesn't grant WA the deal, then it would be a "political decision".

"All submarines maintenance should be done in Western Australia, where the submarines are based nearest to their operational areas," he said.

If their pitch is successful they intend to build a new wharf, upgrade support facilities, as well as building their workforce through South Metropolitan TAFE.

The WA government expects 3000 local jobs to be created through the deal, with an economy boost of $600 million a year.